A growing number of citizens are defying common border patrol practices by declining to answer questions about their travel plans. Instead, many American citizens are providing documentation of citizenship and then remaining silent. As a result of the refusal to disclose further details, many claim they have been harassed or even arrested, but it is legal?
The Houston Chronicle notes that a growing number of people are joining a civilian movement to videotape border patrol interactions. Many in the movement feel that the border patrol agents have too much power when it comes to using force as a means to obtain personal information from citizens. All American citizens must provide proof of citizenship to regain entry to the United States after leaving. However, many border patrol agents don’t stop there. In fact, the Customs and Border Protection agency says that sometimes that isn’t enough.
“Border Patrol agents may lawfully question the (vehicle) occupants about their citizenship and place of birth, and may request documented proof of immigration status and how an individual status was obtained. It is not unusual for Border Patrol agents at checkpoints to engage in conversations with the public regarding their travels.”
However, many citizens find this procedure to be unconstitutional and unnecessary. Therefore, travelers have begun to decline answering any questions about their travels. The result has been numerous arrests and even physical injury to occupants not willing to disclose information about their travel plans. In fact, one Navy veteran who declined to answer prolonged questioning at the border was forcibly removed from his vehicle and arrested. The veteran had his car window smashed out before being yanked from his truck cab by an overzealous border patrol agent. Fortunately for the veteran, he had his dashboard camera rolling the whole time.
In the video above, you can watch as a truck driver is arrested for refusing the extended questioning. The truck driver says that he was able to show proper U.S. citizenship paperwork, but was refused entry after declining to answer questions about his whereabouts while visiting Mexico. The driver says ironically he was read his “rights” before being taken to jail. One of those “rights” included the “right to remain silent.”
What do you think about the border patrol confrontation videos? Should showing U.S. citizenship documentation be enough to satisfy a border checkpoint?